Gaurav Tewari, founder and managing partner of Omega Venture Partners.
If there’s one topic dominating the news cycle in 2023, it’s generative AI. This area of technology has experienced tremendous growth and popularity in recent months, with services such as ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Stable Diffusion considered powerful new tools to help – or damn – humanity.
While generative AI is undeniably powerful, there has been much debate over whether the benefits outweigh the risks. For some, the technology is a godsend for its ability to do that help with diagnoses in health care, help detect fraud and provide more personalized customer experiences. For others, the technology poses the risk of intellectual property theft, bias reproduction and the elimination of creative, fulfilling human jobs.
My role as a technology investment firm leader has put me at the forefront of the benefits and risks of generative AI, and our team has evaluated several thousand generative AI startups over the past year. My view is that while generative AI is a powerful tool that requires human oversight to be deployed responsibly, it is not the harbinger of doom that critics suggest.
Generative AI business models
Generative AI business models can not only help companies streamline their day-to-day tasks, but also increase revenue. Content creation is one of the most direct applications of generative AI. Not only can this technology write emails, product descriptions and marketing copy from scratch, but it can even optimize SEO keywords and phrases to maximize relevance and reach. By enabling small teams to perform tasks that would normally require a much larger group, generative AI catalyzes unparalleled opportunities for small businesses to perform like large companies.
Some companies are also using generative AI to help with product design. For example the fashion industry has started using the technology to turn sketches and mood boards into high-quality designs. Fashion retailers and creative directors no longer have to rely on trend reports and market analysis to inform upcoming designs. Instead, they can use generative AI to analyze unstructured data and inspire a range of designs. Designers can then work with these styles and looks to refine the final product. In December 2022, a group of fashion designers from the Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence in Design (AiDLab) gave a fashion show with designs supported by generative AI.
Fraud detection is another area where generative AI is proving to be an invaluable tool. Banks train ML and AI algorithms with their historical data to suggest risk rules. By exposing generative AI to previous instances of fraud and non-fraud, they can train the system to block or allow certain user actions based on the likelihood of fraud. This allows for faster and more efficient fraud detection than humans can achieve on their own.
Whether it’s product design or fraud detection, it’s important to note that the work being automated is largely of the low-key, repetitive, and monotonous variety. You still need human involvement to ensure the quality and safety of the end product. The real value of generative AI is a general purpose productivity and efficiency multiplier. Indeed, a recent study by UPenn concluded that with Generative AI an amazing 15% of all employee tasks can be completed faster without compromising quality.
Eliminate concerns about AI
So, if the technology is so efficient and cost-effective, what is there to fear from generative AI? A common fear is job loss, as some believe AI is replacing the need for human workers. But while generative AI automates much of the work that used to be done by humans, it doesn’t eliminate the need for human workers. The technology can serve improve jobs instead of replacing them.
Take service jobs for example. It’s unlikely that the sommelier at your favorite restaurant has suddenly been replaced by a chatbot. Instead, the different tasks that make up a job will be affected differently. Some tasks remain unaffected, while others can be automated, expanded or replaced with new, more valuable tasks. The tasks of directing organizational activities can remain unchanged, but routine processes can be automated. AI can also be used to increase product promotion and customer service inquiries to more effectively inform and satisfy customers.
Another fear surrounding generative AI revolves around creating autonomous weapons. However, the Pentagon has already done it gun rules have been updated to regulate the use of AI-powered autonomous weapons and introduce high-level surveillance for human intervention if necessary.
Ethical concerns about generative AI are valid, but it’s important to address them in the right way and in the right context. More research is needed to fully understand the potential implications of generative AI. Ongoing research and development can help improve generative AI capabilities, eliminate biases, and address ethical issues as they arise. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize almost every industry and improve our quality of life, but only if we deploy and develop the technology responsibly.
The future of generative AI
We don’t know the limits of what generative AI can do. By 2025, it is estimated that generative AI technology will be used to more than 30% of new medicines and materialsresulting in significant healthcare cost savings. Generative AI is on point one powerful tool in financial forecasting and scenario generation, making predictions about future market trends and investment opportunities to mitigate risk. It is also well positioned to influence the entertainment industry, enabling companies to increase visual effects, saving and coloring movies and even the faces of actors of age or age.
While generative AI can analyze vast amounts of data and patterns, it cannot replace human creativity, originality and common sense. Therefore, human oversight is crucial in its development and deployment. Businesses and policymakers need to take a thoughtful approach to generative AI to address ethical considerations and ensure that the way forward is to expand the overall economic pie to have a positive impact on humanity.